East AFRITAC Inauguration Ceremony, Welcoming Remarks By Mr. Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané, Director, African Department, IMF

October 24, 2002

East AFRITAC Inauguration Ceremony
Welcoming Remarks
By Mr. Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané
Director, African Department
International Monetary Fund
Dar es Salaam, October 24, 2002

Your Excellency President Mkapa, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Let me start by introducing myself: I am Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané, Director of the IMF's African Department, which is responsible for the new IMF Africa Capacity-Building Initiative. The center-piece of this initiative will be the establishment of five regional IMF capacity-building centers in sub-Saharan Africa, of which this—East AFRITAC—is the first.

It is a great privilege to welcome all of you to today's inauguration ceremony of the East AFRITAC on behalf of the IMF and our cohost, the government of Tanzania. I am particularly delighted that His Excellency William Mkapa, President of Tanzania, has graciously agreed to preside over today's ceremony and deliver the inauguration address.

I also warmly welcome the representatives of the other participating countries of the East AFRITAC: Kenya, which has offered facilities for the center's training activities; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Rwanda; and Uganda. We are honored that so many ministers and governors have taken time from their busy schedules to attend this important event for Africa. Indeed, this high level of representation is a sure indicator of these countries' strong commitment to capacity-building efforts in general, and the AFRITAC project in particular.

I should also like to extend a warm welcome to the representatives of the donor community, including a large number of current sponsors of the IMF's AFRITACs project. Sponsorship is vital to the success of this initiative and we are looking forward to intensifying our relationship with our sponsors and expanding their number. We hope that they will be partners in terms of our capacity-building efforts and partners in financial contributions. I would also like to greet representatives of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the African Capacity Building Foundation, with whom we have had and expect to continue to have a very fruitful collaboration in capacity building activities. Finally, I would also like to warmly welcome members of the Tanzanian Parliament, and representatives of NGOs and the press.

Naturally, we also have with us the core staff who will turn this exciting venture into a living reality. I would particularly like to introduce to you the center coordinator of the East AFRITAC, Mr. John Crotty, and his two colleagues who will be residing in Dar es Salaam, Mrs. Devi Manraj and Mr. Darryl King. They will be active in the whole of the region.

Today's event is a very important day for the IMF. To prove this point, the IMF has come to Dar es Salaam in a large formation led by Mr. Eduardo Aninat who is the IMF's Deputy Managing Director in charge of technical assistance programs.

In light of the long and very distinguished list of speakers on our program today, I do not want to take up too much of your time. But as someone who has spent much of his professional and political life dealing with regional economic issues and institutions—in my case, in West Africa—I should like to emphasise the contribution that the AFRITACs will play in furthering the vision of the African Union. Each of the AFRITACs will be a truly regional resource supporting the essential building blocks of successful regional economic performance: sound institutions and astute economic management. They will not only foster individual country developments in the context of shared expertise and experience, but they will also be available to support regional institutions such as the East African Community, COMESA, SADC and IGAD. Indeed, as a common resource to these institutions, they might also help assure consistency in the policies of these institutions—consistency which will become all the more important as regional integration leads the way to African integration.

This morning, we will be hearing from His Excellency President Mkapa, Mr. Aninat, and representatives of the participating African countries and donors agencies. This afternoon, there will be a workshop on "Capacity-Building Challenges in Africa," with presentations by the director of the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, Mrs.  Ter-Minassian, and representatives of participating African countries. But before I hand over the podium, I would like to once again extend my sincere gratitude to His Excellency President Mkapa and through him to the people and government of Tanzania, not only for cohosting this event, but also for extending the very warm and cordial welcome that we have all received in Tanzania and for providing the efficient logistical and administrative support that has made today's ceremony possible.


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